Agency or­ders he­li­copter checks

Western Daily Press - - News -

SAFETY checks have been or­dered on the tail ro­tors of he­li­copters sim­i­lar to the air­craft that crashed killing Leicester City owner Vichai Sri­vad­dhanaprabha.

The Euro­pean Avi­a­tion Safety Agency (EASA) has is­sued an emer­gency Air­wor­thi­ness Di­rec­tive fol­low­ing the ac­ci­dent yards from the club’s sta­dium.

The Thai bil­lion­aire and four other peo­ple died when the AW169 he­li­copter spun out of con­trol and burst into flames on Oc­to­ber 27.

The EASA di­rec­tive states in­spec­tions should be car­ried out as a “pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sure”, while the cause of the crash has not been iden­ti­fied and the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is on­go­ing.

“While the he­li­copter was on a take-off phase at low for­ward speed, a loss of yaw con­trol has been ob­served,” it said.

It stated that a “one-time vis­ual in­spec­tion” should be car­ried out to check cor­rect in­stal­la­tion of the tail ro­tor servo-ac­tu­a­tor – a part of the flight con­trol sys­tem which helps main­tain sta­bil­ity in AW169 he­li­copters. The parts are man­u­fac­tured by Ital­ian aero­space com- pany Leonardo, which has a base in Yeovil, Som­er­set.

The di­rec­tive is­sues the same in­struc­tions for AW189 he­li­copters, which have a sim­i­lar tail ro­tor flight con­trol sys­tem de­sign.

It stated: “The in­cor­rect in­stal­la­tion of the tail ro­tor servo-ac­tu­a­tor, if not de­tected and cor­rected, depend­ing on the flight con­di­tion, could pos­si­bly re­sult in loss of con­trol of the he­li­copter.”

The di­rec­tive said in­spec­tions should be car­ried out within five flight hours or 24 hours, which­ever came first.

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